Vicky Lee is a stalwart of the tech meet-up scene in Dublin and Technical Content Curator at Tech/Life Ireland 404’s latest event in London, which is billed as “The Ultimate Tech Meetup”. We spoke to her about the past and present of the tech meetup community in Ireland and the future of 404.
Dublin’s Meetup Scene
The tech meetup scene in Dublin is thriving right now, providing a fantastic forum for the city’s techies to meet, network and have fun. Vicky explains: “The big thing is to meet other like-minded people and to learn about the new technology and how people are using it, especially when technology is changing so fast. You can read about these things in your tech newsfeed but there’s no substitute for hearing and seeing how people use it in practice.”
These are the magic ingredients for a tech meetup, and this is why Vicky’s observed a scene that consisted of only a handful of people a decade ago turn into a bustling community made up of hundreds of groups covering every conceivable tech subject. She continues: “The networking is a very big thing. You might end up making amazing friends, as well as finding out what kind of jobs are out there – because a lot of the people who turn up at these events are working in the industry and maybe their company is recruiting. It’s just a great place to hear on the ground what’s going on.”
Vicky’s involvement with the meetup scene began back in 2005 as a member of the first Python group in Ireland. Today, although the scene has exploded, she’s still working hard to make the community as diverse and welcoming as possible.
404 in Dublin
Now Vicky is helping to take the tech meetup scene to the next level, with the introduction of 404. The inaugural 404 event at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham in October 2017 brought together over 1,000 tech professionals for a day of talks, demonstrations and networking. Highlights included a live game performance by cellist Joost van Dongen, Python-generated poetry performances, a breathing-controlled mediation game and talks by experts including Google’s Rachel Andrew and Thomas Shaw from Demonware.
Vicky says: “We pulled from all areas of the scene and we covered a lot of topics. Everything from hybrid data to dev-ops to web development and it was amazing to invite so many tech community organisers representing over 40 of the groups to share the main stage with our international speakers.”
“It was great to see that a lot of people stayed for the afterparty and they were chatting and networking. That was the big thing, we wanted people to chat and there was a crossover of the tech community groups as well. With so many people from different areas of tech there on the day, getting them all mingling under one roof was just fantastic. It was a really a dream come true for me because I’ve been talking about doing something like that for so long.”
404 Joins Forces with Tech/Life Ireland
Vicky may still be revelling in the success of the Dublin event, but this is just the beginning for 404. In 2018, they’re taking the show on the road, with an event in London designed to showcase the best and brightest of our indigenous tech scene to an international audience.
She says: “The essence of 404 Dublin will still be brought to London for Tech/Life Ireland 404. We’ll be bringing Irish and international speakers and we’re looking for installations from the community. We’re definitely trying to promote a lot of the Irish tech companies and the type of jobs and products we have.”
“For me, I’m trying to retain the fun element that we had at the Dublin event while also meeting and networking with the larger London tech community. We’re going into new territory and bringing the Dublin meet up scene to a whole new level. It’s going to be an adventure!”